An entirely reckless climb
Progress was initially fine but gradually due to the slippy rocks, the imbalance of our rucksacks, overhanging trees and deep water pools, private doubts started to enter my mind. Being a stubborn Yorkshire man there was no way that I was going to let anyone know these feelings. Anyway onwards we went scrambling up the ever-steeper ghyll. Soon Kev was to lose his first item (no, not an arm or a leg), but an expensive pair of cool shades (that’ll teach him to think about his image). For the first time in the ghyll we decided to play it safe and not climb a forty-foot section of waterfall. This choice soon proved to be prudent as we passed a bloated dead sheep that had obviously fallen down the section that we had bypassed. You would have thought that we should have learned from this, but just around the corner was another section of similar rock.
Kev, Pete and myself decided to give this a go by climbing directly up through the waterfall. I don’t think that I’ve ever put myself in such danger before. Bravado had obviously taken over. Onwards we scrambled clinging to any possible rock that wasn’t covered in slime. The force of the water was clearly sufficient to knock us off the rocks, but through sheer determination, plenty of guts and lashings of luck we managed to scale two thirds of this climb. The reason that I decided to clamber out was that I had two heart stopping moments. The first was when I fell and somehow immediately found the only dry hand hold of any size just where my outstretched hand landed and the second was where I had to adjust my balance on an exceptionally slippy rock and only saved myself by wedging two fingers in a crack. Thankfully when I did fall my fingers remained attached to me and firmly in place in the crevice. Needless to say with my heart pounding and thoughts of my family racing through my mind I managed to exit the ghyll with Pete and Kev directly behind me.
Anyway as we had spent a huge amount of time in this ghyll and hadn’t covered much ground we decided to plod on to the tune of “squelch, splish splosh” (we were absolutely soaked). We had a reasonable pull up to Grey Knotts, plenty to eat on the summit and then set off on an easy traverse to Green Gable. For once I was actually in the vicinity of Great Gable and could see the summit. This sight made me feel like climbing straight to the top, but no, I was ready for a little more excitement and decided that we should traverse around to the Napes Needle and have a play in the rock playground that surrounded it. This we did, however after trudging across what seemed like endless acres of scree and rubble Mark decided that he was feeling under the weather and would meet us at the top.
Ultimately a cracking sunset from the summit.
Sanity having been restored we picked up the various items, plodded up Great Hell Gate and met up with Mark at the summit. This was incidentally the first time that I had had a view from the summit of Great Gable. It was most certainly worth it. From here on we took a leisurely stroll back to the Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel and indulged in a couple of pints of Theaktsones. Very nice.
This walk had been much more than I had expected, it had almost cost me my life, almost made me piss myself with laughter and had given me my first clear view from the summit of Great Gable. What else could we ask for? Kev might say that he would like the return of his lost gear and his watch repairing.